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Wiltshire's youth orchestra becomes the West of England Youth Orchestra

The West of England Youth Orchestra rehearsing at the Wiltshire Music CentreThe West of England Youth Orchestra rehearsing at the Wiltshire Music CentreThe Wiltshire and Swindon Youth Orchestra has a new name - its members have chosen to call it the West of England Youth Orchestra.

A change of name became necessary when Wiltshire Council stopped funding the county's two youth orchestras - classical and jazz.  A decision made as part of its austerity programme that cut the county's school music service.

Last autumn the Wiltshire Music Centre (WMC) in Bradford on Avon took over responsibility for running the orchestras.  And in order to make them viable, WMC widened the catchment area to include young musicians from Bath and North East Somerset (BSANES) and beyond.

The classical orchestra was founded in 1964.  It provides tuition and performance opportunities alongside professional players for young people playing at and above the Grade Seven standard.

In addition to an existing transport support scheme for young players living far away, a new bursary scheme has been introduced to assist with fees.

James Slater, WMC's Artistic Director, is delighted the players have chosen the new title for their orchestra: "There are not many youth orchestras playing at this standard in the country, so it's important that young people can join from further afield.  The orchestra performed two sold out concerts at the Centre last month, so now everyone is just looking forward to the next course."

The commercial property company HPH Ltd of Bath are the two orchestras main sponsors - and the orchestras receive financial support from Wiltshire Music Connect (funded by Arts Council England), Swindon Music Hub, BANES Music Service - and private donations.

The West Country Youth Orchestra meets three times a year in the school holidays to rehearse and perform symphonic works.

Their next concert - under their professional conductor Timothy Redmond - is on 1 April 2016, when they will perform Dvorak's Cello Concerto in B minor with leading British cellist Matthew Sharp, and Laura Rossi's score Somme100 FILM - commissioned by the Imperial War Museum as a live soundtrack to the 1916 film The Battle of the Somme.   It marks the centenary of the Battle.

Full details of this concert can be found here.

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  • Town-Hall-2011-05-03 08-
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  • Marlborough-2013-04-18 St Peters
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